Newborn shoots at home – how to prepare and what to expect

Don’t stress

You’re about to read my top tips for your newborn session, but please – do not stress!  The most important thing above *all* else is that you arrive to your session as calm as possible, ready to love on your newborn baby and enjoy your session.

 Prepare your home the day before

There’s absolutely no need for the house to be spotless for my arrival (trust me, mine isn’t!) but do try to declutter some key well-lit areas.  

The most important factor is light – we need a nice bright room, without direct sunlight. Ideally, I’m looking for a full length window.  Pull up all the blinds as far as they will go and throw open all the shutters. I will bring sheer curtains to diffuse the light.  

Put a neutral, light-coloured doona on the bed in your master bedroom (that’s often where you have the best light). Clear the clutter from your bedside tables. Fresh flowers always look beautiful in the background.

Be organised 

Organise your outfits and anything else you need for your shoot early.  A week before your shoot, lay out your clothes and check they work together.  If you need a second opinion, I’m only the other end of a text or email.  Set them aside – including underwear, shoes, socks, and accessories – so that nothing gets lost or dirty.  If you’re planning to use my client wardrobe (link) then make sure you let me know the week prior.

Get yourself ready early because the last hour before your shoot flies by. Better still, book to have your hair and make up done for you! Don’t get yourself into your outfit until the last minute though, because you *know* if you do someone will spill something or vomit!

Warm it up

We want bub to be cosy and sleepy, so crank the heating and warm your place up.  If you’re not sweating, it’s probably not warm enough!

Prepare baby 

I’ve had 2 babies of my own.  And while I am no expert, I do know one thing: babies usually do the complete opposite of what you need them to do.  So please, before you read this section refer back to point #1 – DO NOT STRESS!

Ideally, your baby will be fed and sleepy at the start of your session.  So aim for them to be awake around 60-90 minutes before your session.  

With half an hour to go before your session starts, change their nappy and strip them down.  Wrap them in blankets to keep them warm, but no clothes (unless you have an outfit you want to photograph them in) 

Then, feed them.  Even if they aren’t ready for a full feed, it’s best to give them a nice big top up.

After the feed, keep them upright and burp them thoroughly.  They might fall asleep on you and that’s ok.

If it goes “wrong”

Don’t stress.  It’s ok – I have seen it all, I promise!!

Newborn babies are unpredictable. I don’t for one minute expect them to work to any particular schedule. We follow their pace and cues. There is no time pressure; I will stay with you until we have captured everything we need to capture.

When I arrive

The first thing I’ll ask you to do show me around every room.  If we need to rearrange some furniture to create the best space for your images, we will do that. Then I’ll set up the beanbag, hang the sheer curtains, and we will choose the blankets and outfits for bub together.  

If you aren’t all ready when I arrive, that’s ok. Take a little uninterrupted time to finish your hair and make up with a cup of tea. I can start with baby’s portraits, sibling shots, or photographs with Dad. 

If you have toddler/s or preschooler/s at your session then we will start with them.  They tend to listen best and be most cooperative at the start of the session, so we work quickly.

Managing toddlers

Toddlers are in charge (for a change!).  Be flexible in your expectations of what the sibling shot is going to look like.  

The best way to get older siblings to cooperate is to be present, be patient, and work quickly. Games, songs and cuddles are the order of the day. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and do things you know they love. Focus on getting them to have fun and enjoy the experience. Treats that we can give them periodically through the shoot are great, but make sure they’re quick to eat and not too messy.

Most importantly, please don’t get stressed or upset with toddlers.  It never helps.  Everything looks better with a smile (even if you’re screaming a little inside!)  

Once we have what we need from your toddler, I might suggest that Dad takes them outside – into the garden, or to the park. Toddlers will not focus for 2 hours and we will have more success with the newborn portraits if things are calm and quiet.

Newborn baby toes

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